London's best chocolate shops

Rich, robust and deliciously decadent – London's chocolate fans have never had it sweeter

From purist-pleasing dark chocolate to inventive, artistic creations that (almost) look too good to eat, London's chocolatiers really do raise the bar when it comes to cacao. Think we've missed a great chocolate shop in London? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.

Artisan du Chocolat

The name says it all – superb chocolate taken seriously. So seriously they produce their own chocolate from ground beans, rather than buying in couverture (high quality processed chocolate) from a larger concern. The standard range is excellent but it’s worth popping by the boutiques to see the seasonal treats and designs for occasions such as Halloween. Summer’s range includes chocolate pots topped with delicate flowers, and giant buttons flavoured with dried fruits. We love the bars for people on special diets too: they include chocolates made from buffalo and almond milks, as well as sugar-free dark and milk.

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Bayswater

Choccywoccydoodah

One can’t help but be distracted by the fantasmagorical cakes when visiting this store-cum-café, but there’s a wide range of chocolate here too. Tongue-in-cheek items include three types of chocolate popcorn bar, and the inevitable Choccywoccyrocky Road. For reasons we can’t quite fathom, Chunky Ladies’ Secrets is white chocolate studded with glacé cherries and walnuts. Want to truly freak out a loved one? Buy the 2.8kg life-size chocolate skull hand-painted with flowers – it’s £100.

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Soho

Mélange

Mélange has a casual community vibe, and supplies Peckham not just with their regular fixes of croissants, brownies and truffles, but with chocolate making workshops, chocolate and wine (or beer, or rum) matching sessions, and classes in painting with chocolate. We like the thin chocolate slabs made from Belgian couverture – their flavour combinations are inspired: coffee and aniseed; coriander and grapefruit; cumin and mint; bergamot and cinnamon, and plenty more.

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Peckham

Melt

Founded by Louise Nason, Melt has had a few notable chocolatiers at its helm since opening in 2006 but currently heading the kitchen is Chika Watanabe. Colourfully glam packaging is bang-on what you’d expect for this corner of Notting Hill but there’s real substance to the range too. We like the Smoke bar – not flavoured with tobacco but made from cocoa beans grown on volcanic soil, giving the 64 percent dark chocolate an adults-only smoky taste. Also hard to resist is textile designer Celia Birtwell’s Dinky cat design stenciled onto milk chocolate lollipops.

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Westbourne Grove

Montezuma's

Montezuma’s is to chocolate making what Lush Cosmetics is to skincare: fun, quirky, and ethically-minded. Big and little kids are well catered for. Think bars of white chocolate with ginger and chilli; dark chocolate with lime and sea salt; milk chocolate with apple and biscuit (‘apple crumble’ is part of the Great British Puddings range); plus mango chutney boiled sweets.

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Spitalfields

Paul A Young Fine Chocolates

A class act with exquisite sense of taste, invention and discernment, Paul A Young is a former head pastry chef who shuffles ingredients like a croupier with a deck of cards. Black pudding truffle with ginger biscuit and beer? Did it last February. Marmite-flavoured Madagascan chocolate? Yep, £5.75 a bar. Sea salt caramel? Of course, gold medal winner at the International Chocolate Awards. He has additional stores in Camden Passage and The Royal Exchange. You can also buy Paul’s brownies at Fortnum’s – do treat yourself, because they are London’s best.

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Soho

Rococo

Founder Chantal Coady is revered as a pioneer of fine chocolate in the UK and even today seems several steps ahead, with her involvement in the Grenada Chocolate Company – their organic bars on sale here are some of the best on the market. Rococo’s own flavoured bars are justly popular (the rose flavour is heavenly) and the novelties – among them hand-painted chocolate sardines, and jersey new potatoes with mint (made from hazelnut praline, white chocolate and mint leaves) – always raise a smile. Next Easter, treat your BFF to the gorgeous artisan hand-painted chocolate eggs.

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Belgravia

DeRosier

A new name in an unusual location – residential Southfields is lucky to have this friendly chocolate café selling elegant, on-trend designs, as well as tennis-themed chocs for the Wimbledon crowd. The fresh chocolates are made with Grenadian milk chocolate and Ecuadorian dark and come in approachable flavours such as passion fruit and vodka, and coconut caramel. We loved the bars featuring colourful animal and bamboo prints, and bags of indulgent blobs such as honeycomb in dark chocolate.

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London

Philip Neal

If you fancy stiletto, Buddha or mask-shaped chocolates, this is the place to come. Formerly known as Theobroma Cacao, Philip Neal’s teeny Chiswick boutique offers some intriguing treats – salted walnut truffles, white chocolate wafers flavoured with English violet, and new pinot noir dark chocolate truffles. There’s a great choice for almond aficionados too.

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Chiswick

William Curley

As if winning Britain’s Best Chocolatier five times wasn’t enough, William Curley and wife Suzue are also both highly respected pastry chefs renowned for combining classic techniques with unusual (often oriental) flavours. Jasmine entremets, for example, layers dark chocolate mousse and sponge with jasmine crème brûlée and caramelized mandarins. At this flagship branch (there is a smaller one in Richmond and a concession in Harrods) you can eat at the dessert bar, or take a class in chocolate making.

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London

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Lovebuddies
Lovebuddies

Best choclates for Lovebuddies on Valentines day.